Spousal support, also known as alimony, can serve a crucial purpose following the divorce. It can provide a financial lifeline to the financially strained ex-spouse while allowing them to transition into financial independence once the divorce has been finalized.
However, an alimony judgment is never cast on stone. Changes in circumstances can prompt one or both parties to want to terminate spousal support.
Here are three ways spousal support can be terminated in the Sunshine State:
The first, and probably the easiest, way to terminate spousal support is via voluntary termination. This can happen in a number of ways. The parties can agree to end spousal support payments after a specified period of time or after a triggering event, like when the receiving party acquires enough skills to get employment. The parties can also agree to voluntarily terminate spousal support when they both believe that the payment is no longer necessary.
South Carolina state law provides for situations where spousal support automatically ends after a divorce. The first situation is where either party dies. Remember, spousal support payments are between ex-spouses, not their estates. Third parties, like dependents, cannot pay or receive spousal support on behalf of their deceased kin. The second situation is where the receiving party remarries.
Another situation where a paying party may petition the court to terminate spousal support payment to their ex is when the receiving party cohabits with another person. South Carolina defines cohabitation as an arrangement where two adults stay together as if they are a couple. The court takes into account a number of factors when determining whether the situation amounts to cohabitation. These include:
- How long they have been living together
- Whether the cohabiting partners claim to be married
- Any factor that proves a financial relationship between the living partners
Making spousal support payments to an ex-spouse is not exactly how most people want to spend their hard-earned money, especially if the marriage ended in acrimony. If you are looking to terminate spousal support, it is important that you understand the grounds upon which spousal support can be terminated in South Carolina.